Filed under: Anti-fascist, Critique, US
The neo-fash thought pretending this guy was a martyr was going to be the key to making their troubles go away. It is backfiring spectacularly. This article was originally posted on Idavox.
In the wake of the so-called “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA last summer, self-styled “racial realist” Andrew Dodson told a reporter that he was pleased with the day’s events, even calling it “a phenomenal victory.” To him, the amount of push back that he saw against them informed him of the strength of neo-Fascists in the country. “Our ideas are so powerful, that the cops have to break the law and use violence against us to shut us down,” he said. “This shows just what an unbelievable threat we are to the system.”
But in the end the neo-Fascists were not the threat Dodson thought they would be given how much the nation and the world pushed back against them after Charlottesville. Dodson himself remained unremarkable and particularly unforgettable, even with the white suit and tri-corner MAGA hat he wore there, not to mention a physical altercation he eventually had while participating.
Seven months later, Dodson was dead and two months after that neo-Fascists reeling from a series of legal setbacks came up with a new political stunt last weekend that they perhaps thought will end all that: make Dodson and his death a cause célèbre and use it in an intimidation campaign against the doxing that have caused them all their problems.
According to online reports, Dodson passed away on March 9 at his Stratham, New Hampshire home, and his funeral and burial was a week later at a church and its cemetery in Richburg, South Carolina. Very few spoke of his passing at the time. In fact, only the funeral home’s death notice was the only public report one could find until last weekend. But despite the public talk of his death being a suicide, nothing official has come out to confirm that. The Stratham Police Department told Idavox that his death is still under investigation and the town’s medical examiner said there has not been a cause of death determined as toxicology reports are still pending. Whether or not Dodson’s death was indeed a suicide, a drug overdose, which has also been rumored, or a combination of both, it has become a particularly curious thing to witness this newfound love and concern for Dodson who during the two and a half months after his death saw only his family and friends giving tribute.
Dodson’s fellow neo-Fascists began talking him up last Thursday on White Nationalist blogs and social network accounts, and while it was Dodson himself that made himself public during Charlottesville, those neo-Fascists have attempted to create a narrative blaming his alleged suicide as the fault of others exposing him. One of the earliest Twitter posts was on Thursday and it portrayed Dodson as someone “demonized as ‘White Supremacist’ for believing Whites should be allowed to exist as Whites” and lamented how his Twitter account was suspended.
A day later, White Supremacist Richard Spencer started a hashtag – misspelling Dodson’s name – where he called the doxing of his fellow fascists an “act of war.”
Then the floodgates opened. Suddenly, there were calls to paint Dodson as a victim of antifa and blame anyone who has doxed Dodson in the wake of Charlottesville for his alleged suicide and to get them removed from Twitter and other social networks. Certain reporters that they said were responsible for exposing Dodson have been targeted and harassed. Soon there were videos, memes and articles dedicated to Dodson. One article however, was written by a woman named Lucy Brown that was posted on the online publishing website the Medium, and it drove a particularly curious point home about Dodson’s death: “…to the attendees of Charlottesville, it has served as an unsettling reminder of the sentences many of them are still serving after attending the rally.”
That statement might suggest that the Dodson campaign is being waged for more than just his perceived honor. Over the past two weeks alone, at least four neo-Fascists have been convicted and imprisoned for their violent roles in the “Unite the Right” rally, with more still awaiting trial. Most, if not all of them have come as a result of campaigns by people outraged by the actions of the neo-Fascists that day to dox those that participated, particularly those who engaged in violence. Many of them have lost their jobs and even been disowned by their families, but the arrests and convictions are a particular sore spot among them. There are still more “Unite the Right” attendees that many have not identified – yet. Some of them are still evading prosecution in the assault on Charlottesville resident DeAndre Harris and other criminal acts from that day. A successful effort to get Twitter to ban accounts that are working to identify those individuals would make it harder to do so and they will continue to live their lives unabated.
The Dodson campaign is not the first effort within these circles to spin the events of the Charlottesville rally to make it seem as if neo-Fascists were the wronged party and that efforts to the contrary are all one big conspiracy plotted against them. There is the narrative that Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer died of heart attack, shifting blame from James Fields, the 20-year-old “Unite the Right” attendee that allegedly drove his car into several persons including Heyer, killing her. DeAndre Harris, a black man who was attacked by several neo-Fascists was charged with an assault on one of them in an attempt to paint him as the aggressor, but he was acquitted while to date, three neo-Fascists have since either pled guilty or have been convicted, including Daniel Borden this week, who during the rally wore a hat reading “Commie Killer.” One would not be wrong in recalling how in Nazi Germany the Reichstag Fire of 1933 was used as a pretext for the Nazis to suspend rights, arrest Communists and increase police action throughout the country. As in the the case with Dodson’s death, the circumstances surrounding the Reichstag Fire is unknown to this day, and making an analogy between the campaign the Nazis waged and this current one with Dodson would not be too farfetched, although the campaign for Dodson is significantly less relevant.
The Dodson campaign is also not getting any takers. The story only seems to be one that is bandied about among neo-Fascists and their supporters with no one beyond those circles even touching the story. And while the Reichstag Fire galvanized Nazis enough to cause real harm to its opposition, this current effort seems to have the opposite and particularly ironic effect. One of the neo-Fascist accounts @MIllenniel_Matt, run by someone who has been suspended before, ended up being suspended as he participated in this campaign. Other accounts to replace that one also ended up on the trash heap, and Matt ended up ranting on Gab, a social network that allows neo-Fascists on their platform, and while calling out Logan Smith of @YesYoureRacist, declared, “I run a few other #MAGA accounts on Twitter no one knows about. Bet you cant (sic) find those Logan! HAHA!
Shieldwall’s Billy Roper, who Dodson was briefly misidentified as, saw his article about Dodson taken down because the reporter he targeted in it filed a complaint with his host. He later took to his podcast to call for a retaliation doxxing of antifa.
And Lucy Brown, the author of the Medium article that lionized Dodson, is also feeling the heat. Today, her Medium account was suspended, which means her Dodson article that had been shared and read countless times on social networks is not currently available. The website cites a violation of its Terms of Service, namely her engaging in “campaigns of targeting, harassment, hate speech, violence or intimidation”.
While unrelated to the Dodson case, Gab.ai, the social networking website that neo-Fascists have retreated to as a safe space to vent freely, pushed back on more aggressive posters, namely the ones who call for violence, which some have done on Gab and other outlets in regards to Dodson. Gab owner Andrew Torba posted a warning on his own account: “If you’re threatening or promoting violence, you’re gone. Use your head. There is no website on the planet that would allow threats and the promotion of violence. Not Twitter. Not 4chan. Not the Daily Stormer. Not Gab.”
Painting Dodson as a victim has meant making him a better person than he was, at least on paper. But when he spoke to that reporter from the Atlantic, it was more than apparent he was far from the glowing figure neo-Fascists attempt to paint him as. A 34-year-old engineer originally from South Carolina but at the time living in Stratham, NH he told that reporter that he was fighting against communism and for White America. He was filmed participating in the Tiki Torch march from the night before wearing a shirt from the University of Arkansas Engineering School, leading the Arkansas Times to later identify him as a former student there. Counter-protester Heather Heyer’s death was given some concern, but only for himself and others who thought like him, he being described as being “annoyed” with the incident because it gave the police justification to shut down their “peaceful assembly.” Bizarre stories about abuse he suffered as well as engaged in as well as of him being a fetishist also eventually emerged.
Dodson’s family has yet to make a statement on the recent events surrounding his death, but they have made the obituary on the funeral home’s website private and while his Facebook page still exists, they made it into a memorial page and very little information is made publicly available. Meanwhile, it is still not official how Dodson passed away, although the public will surely know in the months to come. That means the information about his death currently making the rounds is nothing more than hearsay and propaganda, fueled by those who are doing everything they can to avoid the comeuppance they so richly deserve.